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Lawmakers move quickly on bill to diminish reservation borders





Wyoming's all-Republican Congressional delegation is moving quickly on a bill that would diminish the boundaries of the Wind River Reservation.

Sen. Mike Enzi (R) and Sen. John Barrasso (R), the vice chairman of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee, and Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R) released a joint statement last week that said they don't want to "take away" from the reservation. But a draft of their bill clearly states that the reservation was "diminished" by an act Congress in 1905.

The lawmakers started circulating the draft sometime last month. They only gave the Northern Arapaho Tribe and the Eastern Shoshone Tribe until April 4 to provide comments.

"The bill you have put forward resurrects policies discredited and abandoned long ago by the United States,” the leaders of the Northern Arapaho Tribe said in a letter to the delegation.

The 1905 act of Congress has been cited repeatedly by the state courts to diminish the reservation. However, the federal courts do not appear to have directly ruled on the matter so the state has filed a lawsuit against the Environmental Protection Agency.

The lawsuit does not arise directly out of the 1905 law. Instead, it's being filed because the EPA approved a treatment as state application for the Northern Arapaho Tribe and Eastern Shoshone Tribe.

The EPA's approval conflicted with the state's view of the reservation boundaries. The matter is now before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals.

Get the Story:
Wyoming Senator Drafts Bill ‘To Clarify’ Reservation Borders (Indian Country Today 4/9)
Tribe has 'grave concerns' about fed legislation on reservation border (The Riverton Daily Ranger 4/9)

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